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2008年11月21日 (金)


(Mainichi Japan) November 20, 2008

Kaleidoscope of the heart: It's what happens after the marriage search that's important

香山リカのココロの万華鏡:大切なのは「婚活」の先 /東京

Recently a series of catchphrases have been coined to describe the situation of single women in Japan -- such as "ohitorisama" (Ms. Loner), "makeinu" (Ms. Loser, for unmarried women over 30), and "konkatsu" (hubby-hunting) -- and have become topics for lively discussion.


But when these loners and losers who actively start hubby-hunting actually snare themselves a marriage partner, do they live happily ever after?


The answer for many such women is no. It turns out that quite a few of these women, who are supposed to be happy newlyweds, begin to come down with psychological disorders.


Their parents are happy for them, and they continue to work at their jobs as they always have, and the men who have become their husbands pitch in with the housework. Yet a conspicuous number of them fall into a state which prevents them from being enthusiastic about their housework and jobs, and they begin to feel down in the dumps.



When I probe the source of their stress, nothing pops up. At most, a woman might volunteer that "living with a stranger, my husband, just doesn't suit me well." When she tells me that "my husband is considerate, and of course I don't dislike him, but when he's there on his days off, I just can't relax ..." I look into her face and get a sudden urge to ask her, "Then what does marriage actually mean to you?


Living with a stranger is part and parcel of marriage, but for many of these women, their conception of marriage seems to freeze at the point that they send out postcards and e-mails announcing that they have gotten married.


Women may have confidence in what they have accomplished in college and since getting a job, so lurking in their heart somewhere is the feeling that they don't want to change themselves so readily merely for the sake of something like marriage.


But they can't get used to living with their husbands, who are strangers to them. I am always at a loss when I try to figure out what kind of advice I should dispense to women who are maladjusted to married life. Even if I were to remind them of the vows they exchanged at their weddings -- "in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish," they would not come around.


The hubby hunts that these women actively embark on in order to get married are all good and well. But what is important is what happens after they succeed in their search. While they will be adored by their husbands in the early stages after the wedding, marriages are supposed to last for many decades.

If I were to tell these women that this is what they should be carefully considering when searching for a husband, would it just encourage more of them to marry later, or to forgo marriage altogether?


While it may be the case that few women today would completely fall for the notion that "married life is bliss," at the very least I would like the women who do get married not to come down with maladjustment syndrome. (By psychiatrist Rika Kayama)


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